Detroit Bulk Storage Aggregate Spill Shows Need for Polluter Pay Law

Thursday, December 5, 2019

DETROIT- Last week, while Michiganders were enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, aggregate from a known contaminated site currently being used by Detroit Bulk Storage collapsed into the Detroit River. The site has been contaminated for decades with a variety of dangerous and radioactive chemicals including uranium, PCBs, and PFAS compounds. The collapsed riverbank threatens downriver water intake pipes for the city of Detroit.

This has been a known contaminated site for decades, while the corporations responsible for the contamination have evaded responsibility as a result of weak clean-up standards and the lack of polluter pay regulations that require companies responsible for the pollution they create to pay for the cleanup.

“This is yet another example of why we need a strong polluter pay law in Michigan,” said Mary Brady-Enerson, Michigan Director of Clean Water Action. “Bills requiring corporations to cleanup the contamination they create were introduced in February and have been sitting in the legislature with no action taken by the Republican majority. Our water is too important to allow corporate negligence to go unchecked.”

HB 4212 and SB 116, introduced by Representative Yousef Rabhi and Senator Jeff Irwin would restore Michigan’s polluter pay law, which was once the strongest in the nation. The bills were introduced earlier this year, and neither has even received a committee hearing.

“Clean Water Action members across the state and across the political spectrum support restoring a strong polluter pay law in Michigan,” said Brady-Enerson. “How many more examples of corporate pollution threatening our water supply will it take for lawmakers to finally act?”


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. Clean Water Action is Michigan’s largest grassroots conservation group with over 250,000 members across the state. Through direct advocacy and education we organize Michigan residents to protect the Great Lakes and our water resources. Learn more at


Sean McBrearty